La Tomatina

10 06 2012

In Spain, contrary to all the adverts here in the UK proclaiming it their national drink, you have to go to a lot of bars to find a San Miguel. So it’s a shame that La Tomatina, Bristol’s newest Spanish bar now open on Park Street, only has the cod authentic San Miguel and Staropramen from the Czech Republic on tap, available in both pint and pitcher.

More authenticity comes in bottled form, with Estrella Damm from Barcelona, Cruzcampo from Seville and San Miguel Fresca, brewed by Scottish & Newcastle in Edinburgh. From Spain again, there is El Gaitero cider from Asturias, not cidre, cidra.

There are also jugs of sangria and five different reds and white wine available by glass and bottle.

Bristol was blessed with Mediterranean sunshine yesterday and La Tomatina’s concertina windows were wide open, with as many customers as possible sat on the seats on the pavement, beneficiaries of the recent addition of a few extra feet of paving slabs which means that pedestrians are not hindered by the arrival of wicker seats.

When this was the Sue Sheppard recruitment office, it was known for its window displays. It is now unrecognisable from those days, with some exposed metal down to the basement toilets and kitchen painted red, a large photograph of the world famous Tomatina tomato-throwing festival on one wall, and blackboards advertising live Spanish guitar, conversation evenings, and paella Sundays.

Valencian paella costs £9.95 for meat and £10.95 for seafood. The food menu ranges from sandwiches to 8oz sirloin steak (£16.95), and there are 25 different tapas mostly around the £3 mark, from favourites patatas bravas and tortilla to more adventurous deep-fried whitebait and lamb kidneys.

La Tomatina is also open from 7.30am for a big breakfast choice, with full English jostling for position with French pastries, and typically Spanish magdalenas – light and fluffy cup cakes – and churros, served with either chocolate or honey.

Not as good as El Rincón, even with the recent additions of Manna and Bravas still my favourite tapas bar in Bristol, La Tomatina is still a great addition to Park Street, especially as it’s something a little bit different and done with style.

So soak up some sun and soak up more authenticity than at first thought.

La Tomatina, 2-4 Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5HS. 0117 302 0008.
Twitter: @LaTomatinaUK



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